KPMG, a leading provider of audit, tax and advisory services in Saudi Arabia, has published “Tech Survey Saudi Arabia 2022”, which uncovers the technology strategies businesses are using to help outsmart their competitors in a time of unprecedented global change.
The report surveyed more than 2,200 executives around the world – including 51 in Saudi Arabia – and conducted a series of in-depth discussions with industry experts.
The Tech Survey was launched during LEAP 2023, the four-day annual tech convention held in Riyadh, with more than 100,000 tech innovators and leading experts from around the world.
Public and private sector organizations in Saudi Arabia have been investing heavily in digital transformation. Organizations in the Kingdom have set their sights high, inspired by Vision 2030 and digital transformation initiatives set out by the government.
Saudi companies have quickly embraced artificial intelligence, data transformation and emerging technologies to harness technology to outperform their global counterparts.
“Our latest global tech report finds a resilient, forward-looking attitude among technology professionals in the Kingdom and their peers globally. Moreover, Saudi organizations also demonstrate that they are not risk adverse in adopting tech at the cutting edge, in some cases moving farther and faster than their peers,” commented Robert Ptaszynski, Head of Digital & Innovation at KPMG in Saudi Arabia.
Almost 66 percent of Saudi-based respondents believe their organizations are either extremely or very effective at using tech to advance their business strategies. This marks the highest confidence level in this research series, supported by a high return on investment and indicating that effective digital transformation is less of a differentiator than in previous years.
Eighteen percent of the respondent have extremely effective transformation programs that have generated at least an 11 percent uplift in profit or company performance.
KPMG added that eighty percent of organizations in the Kingdom are at an advanced stage of their digital transformation strategies, with the leadership support and funding required to drive their program forward.
Although 41 percent admit that progress is slower than expected, in general, digital transformation programs have put Saudi organizations in the Kingdom in an advantageous position to embrace new technologies.
Moreover, the expected timeframe for most Saudi organizations to invest in quantum computing is two years, with 70% of businesses suggesting they have advanced in their adoption of data and analytics systems, KPMG report said.
Almost 53% of executives in Saudi Arabia find security and compliance requirements to be the top challenge their organization faces in their cloud journey. In comparison, 63% of organizations plan to increase investment in application security, which is 20% more than the global average.
Cybersecurity teams are under pressure to keep up with evolving threats, with cultural obstacles and limited funding getting in the way of security efforts. Nonetheless, most Saudi organizations are confident of their ability to prevent or mitigate security risks.
The digitalization of customer channels and the adoption of hybrid working are the two biggest cybersecurity challenges faced by Saudi organizations, with almost half of the respondents (47 percent) citing the need to improve customer experience as the top driver of their cybersecurity spending.
“To help ensure that tech innovations enhance customer trust and loyalty, rather than put it at risk, security should be incorporated into planning from the beginning, rather than added later as an afterthought,” stated Ptaszynski.
Despite the challenges, Saudi respondents are confident in their cyber capabilities. More than 50 percent are either very or extremely confident in combatting various cyber threats, including from organized crime groups, insiders and compromised supply chains. In several threat categories, this confidence level increased to over 60 percent.
As part of its efforts to map out the new definition of digital leadership, KPMG presents seven traits in today’s most digitally advanced organizations: tear down siloes so the voice of the employee can be heard between departments, Be part of the solution to the talent crisis, Build airtight alignment between cloud stakeholders, Ensure cyber specialists have early involvement in tech selection and staff education, Allow the voice of the customer to guide emerging-technology strategies, Be prepared to switch platform providers to enhance customer experiences and Experiment wisely.
“These traits work together to optimize the output of IT, ensuring digital-transformation efforts are sustainable and continue to add value and contribute to loyalty-winning customer experiences in the long term,” said Ptaszynski.
“Digital-transformation triumphs are empowering today’s businesses to face the uncertainty ahead with a confident spirit. The returns and performance improvements earned to date have branded customer-centric technology strategies as lifesaving tools in any business’ survival kit,” he concluded.
LEAP23 has garnered support from numerous leading government and private sector organisations. Strategic partners and sponsors for LEAP23 include NEOM, STC, Saudi Aramco, Mobily, IBM, Microsoft, Ericsson, Huawei, and Najm Insurance. The 2023 edition will also host country pavilions from the United Kingdom, Finland, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Oman and India.